Our Zulucow Artisans’ plans for the Christmas Holidays
Last Christmas; having fun with Ma Beatrice, Ma Philippine and the rest of our brilliant, skilled team of Zulucow artisans
We are so lucky at Zulucow, to have such a talented team of craftswomen and men; who finely craft all our beautiful cowhide products, in rural South Africa.
Even though Sifose (Thandeka’s younger brother) speaks good English,the boys preferred to ‘speak’ the universally shared language of football, and let their skills and Sifose’s impressive ‘keepy-uppy’ tally do the talking.
Unfortunately we can’t get out to see our ZC artisans in South Africa this December. I rang Lihle this week to say hi and to wish her and the team a Merry Christmas, and asked her what plans the team had for the festive break…….
Lihle – When I first met Lihle, 3 years ago, she was grading and trimming our Nguni cowhide rugs; and finely crafting our Zulucow weekend bags, bucket bags and cushions.. But she told me she was frustrated, because she had a diploma and wanted to use her office skills. She couldn’t find any work in rural Natal; so she was seriously contemplating leaving the workshop and moving to Durban (the nearest large city) to find an admin job. She said she just wanted to use her office skills. (South Africa suffers from crippling unemployment – officially 25%, but unofficially especially in rural areas like Zululand, it reaches 60 percent.)
Yet to my surprise and delight she was still at the workshop last Christmas and had just been promoted to the role of Receptionist and Sales Person.
“The workshop is not just my work place, but I have found family, I love working here there’s so much love and respect for one another. Christmas will be in Durban with my parents and siblings. Looking forward to it.” Lihle
Lihle’s Mother: Ma Beatrice
Ma Beatrice is my favourite! Always laughing and giggling. Last year she ran up to our boys and gave them big warm Zulu ‘Gogo’ (Granny) hugs, before I received one of her wonderful warm embraces too! She said “Ngiyakuthanda wena” (We love you Lucy.) I was taken aback, but over the years I’ve realised how crucial these jobs are for all our artisans in this country of colossal unemployment. I realised that they rely hugely on the jobs that YOU (our customers) are creating when you buy any of our Nguni cowhide beanbags, rugs bags belts or cowhide cushions, or any other of our cowhide home and fashion accessories. Ma Beatrice says her favourite Zulucow pieces are the cross-body bag (or as she calls them: ‘The Lucy bags’, bucket bags and weekend bags.
This Christmas, she said she’d go to Durban to be with her husband and family. “We go to church with my family and after church; back home we share presents. We eat cake and juice. “I thank god for the wonderful family I have.”
Ma Philippine is another of our senior, experienced seamstresses. She says her favourite Zulucow items which she enjoys making are our cowhide weekend bags, purses and cushions.
“This Christmas, “I’ll be at home with my family because on the 26th of December, it is my Birthday and I cook for my family at Enkemni Farm. I love to eat the salads. I want to thank Zulucow for giving me this job.“
More ‘vignettes’ from our fabulous team, in tomorrow’s blog!